Philosophy pays! Sort of …

Payscale, a site that collects data on US salaries, has a new report out.  It looks at people with just undergraduate degrees, so doctors and lawyers are not included.  Nor are college professors. 

The charts look at salary at the  beginning of one’s career and at mid-career.  It’s sorted according to schools or majors.  It’s worth a look.  If you’ve paid $200,000 for a child’s education at an intense 4 year liberal arts  college and find she might be earning more had she gone to Podunk U, you can reflect for a while on what your values really are.

But here’s an interesting remark from the NY Times (below shortly); if the claim about where philosophy majors tend to be is as well based as it sseems to be, then it might make a difference to those who are looking at why we see a lower number of  women in philosophy.  On the other hand, do note the the claim might be right about those who major in philosophy and don’t go to graduate school, and wrong about those who do go to graduate school.

So here it is:

who would have thought that philosophy majors in mid-career would earn more than information technology majors in mid-career? This is probably because students who major in philosophy are more likely to go to elite schools, whereas students who major in I.T. are likely to go to pre-professional-type schools that don’t even offer philosophy as a major, Mr. Lee says. So it’s not really the choice of major that’s making the difference – it’s the school.“A student’s choice of major has a huge impact mid-career, enormous,” says Mr. Lee. “But you generally don’t see people majoring in philosophy” — or other “soft” majors, he says — “except in top schools.”

Do notice that the remark about where philosophy majors are found is not based on anecdotal evidence; they have tons of data linking salaries and education.  The only people they are not factoring in are those who do not work or those who go to graduate school.

Hiring and maternity cover

A somewhat ponderous post:

I was having a conversation the other day about the following features of academic departments, which seems deeply problematic:

a) In academic posts (unlike, it seems, in other jobs), when an employee takes maternity leave, it isn’t automatically the case that a replacement is hired; rather, the workload is distributed amongst colleagues in the department.
b) these colleagues, then, face significant burden when a colleague takes maternity leave.
c) The people who face this potential burden are involved in hiring processes.

To ascertain the extent of the problem, clearly we’d need to know things like:
i. how pervasive is a)? I know that some departments get temporary staff to cover, others don’t.
ii. it certainly seems like this *could* impact on hiring practices, to the detriment of women; how might we ascertain whether it does, and to what extent?

The person with whom I was discussing raises the following interesting point:
“One thing it struck me about the policy: the lower the proportion of women already in the department you’re applying to, the less likely this factor is to adversely affect your chances; does that make it a form of discrimination that is undercut by other forms?”

Any further thoughts on this?
(Thanks to JW for raising this.)